No pressure, London - "No Fun City" shows how it's done

Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:34pm EST
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By Kevin Fylan

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - These Winter Olympics showed London 2012 that great sport and people of passion will help you overcome any number of problems, while a home gold rush can set a Games on the way to greatness.

Organizers received a stream of negative feedback early in the Games, after the death of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was followed by a series of mishaps and blunders and spectacularly unhelpful weather.

That Vancouver managed to change the mood was down to the enthusiasm of the crowds, the excellence of the competition, the city's warmth of welcome and the small matter of Canada's 14 gold medals, culminating in the dramatic overtime victory in men's hockey on the closing day.

London cannot guarantee that sort of sporting success, of course, and there is no equivalent of the Own the Podium program that served Canada so well, but they can make sure they deliver on the other key factors.

Sebastian Coe, chair of the organizing committee for London 2012, highlighted the passionate crowds both at the venues and in the city as major strengths of the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

"I don't think the criticism of the Games has been fair," Coe told Reuters on a visit to Vancouver this week.

"I think there has been a lot of good positive stuff and my assessment is that they have got the key things right in these Games.

"The stadiums are full and clearly full of people who look like they want to be there, which tells me they've got the ticketing strategy right.   Continued...

<p>Canadian fans celebrate Canada's victory over the U.S. in the men's ice hockey gold medal game during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics February 28, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Helgren</p>